Whenever I buy something on Amazon or somewhere else, there is always a message certifying the website as safe and secure before I have to put in my debit card information. My mom always warns me to be careful with my personal information on the internet. She worries that my personal information will be stolen and gives me advice taken from articles about protecting personal information online (see here and here). Every time I’m home she tells me that I need to make sure my Facebook and other social media is as private as the privacy settings will allow. In the past, this led me to believe that private details about my life would remain private if I wanted them to. However, in class on Friday it was incredible to see how much information could be gleaned about the class simply by asking who each person talked to most within our class.
In our increasingly digital world, people are becoming more concerned about protecting their identity. This is why when information about the NSA collecting any kind of data from our cellphones and other devices creates general public outcry. Simply looking at who we talk to in our class, showed us an apparent division between athletes and “nonners”. Analyzing who people call and text could help someone put together a picture of who a person is, what they like, and what they are likely to do and believe (see this article and this article). Metadata collected from people’s phones can therefore give the NSA, or any person analyzing the data, the ability to discern sensitive information about an individual’s life. It makes me wonder if “privacy” in the digital age is possible.